Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Sometimes I play the following game: would I be willing to live like the parents do in the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books in order to have access to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle? Usually, the answer is yes. Yes, I would be willing to go back to calling people Mr. this and Mrs. that. I might even be OK staying at home with no outside job. I might even be OK with the highlight of my day being an invitation to an exclusive ladies’ group. Yes, all this in order to have access to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

For those who haven’t yet read Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle: write down the information and buy the books or get them from the library. Now. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has “cures” to common children’s problems, like not wanting to brush your teeth, not turning off the TV, not bathing, etc. She has answers my friends, answers. Let me backtrack. Written by Betty MacDonald in the 1950s, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is a woman who lives alone in an upside-down house. When parents have difficulties with their children, they turn to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle who has a delightful cure that does not involve bribery, yelling or glasses of gin and tonic. There’s a bit of magic involved, but mostly a lot of natural consequences.

For instance, in the car this morning, we listened to The Radish Cure from the original Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. The cure for a girl who refuses to bathe? Don’t bug her about it, just let her get filthier and filthier until her body is caked with topsoil. After a few weeks (ugh), go into her room while she is sleeping and plant tiny radish seeds on her arms and head and torso. When they sprout three leaves, you can pull them out. In the story at least, the girl quickly spent the day in the shower after the radishes were removed.

The stories are just funny enough for kids and spark lots of “what if” thoughts for parents. The parents in the stories are hilarious: all their kids are perfect, so it feels very much like real life (You mean your child won’t go to bed on time? My Jimmy loves to jump into bed the moments I give the word…).

There are a few different Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle titles. The ones I know best are the original, Happy Birthday Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Farm. You can find them all here.

And the audio version of the stories is also great — excellent narrator and something I can stand to listen to…

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1 Comment »

  1. Family favorite, nothing beats Mrs. Piggle’s ‘though-you-saider’s cure’.

    Glad to hear your kids know Mrs. P too!!!!

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